The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Beaten

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Malaria

    5
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Falls

    12
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Groped

    9
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Groped

    2
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Burns

    4
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Various Parasites

    16